Times critic not impressed by Ha Ji-won

Duelist still

The Duelist was released in cinemas on Friday. In a way, I wish I’d gone to see it in preference to Kim So-yong’s In Between Days as I was in the mood for something a bit unchallenging. I’ve yet to find anyone to say it’s a great film, but lots of people enjoy the visuals.

I long ago removed Times film critic Wendy Ide from the list of people who have anything sensible to say about Korean film, so when I saw her name at the bottom of a two paragraph piece in the weekend entertainment supplement I knew it was unlikely to be a glowing review. I had also forgotten she always gets confused between family names and given names. Here’s what she has to say:

The Duelist
Director Myung-se Lee, 12A, 111min,
Stars: Ji-Won Ha, Sung-Kee Ahn, Dong-Won Kang
On selected release
SterneSterneSterneSterneSterne

This Korean martial arts movie is rather baffling. Based on a manga comic, it blends stylised imagery and balletic fight choreography with a comic sensibility that borders on the puerile.

The story, such as it is, concerns a female detective called Namsoon (Ji-won, a decent knife fighter, a horrible actress) investigating a plot to flood the country with counterfeit money, She finds herself thrown , time and again, against a mysterious swordsman known as Sad Eyes. Although they are on different sides of the law, Namsoon and the enigmatic warrior are drawn to each other. But this courtship plays out at the end of a blade to the insufferably smug strains of the Gotan Project, so it’s pretty much doomed.

I think she didn’t like it then. But Ha Ji-won (below), horrible?

Ha Ji-won

5 thoughts on “Times critic not impressed by Ha Ji-won

  1. This movie is just simply superb, a classic! I’ve seen it like 20 times and never get tired of watching it again and again. Ha Ji won portrays such an adorable detective and the enigmatic Kang Dong won just takes your breath away. The tantalizingly tormenting snippets of views of his face make you go completely gaga. The contradictory personalities of the main charachters, make the movie so memorable. Their sword fights are so strangely sweet. This is my favorite movie ever!

  2. Having now watched this film I’m inclined to agree, for once, with Wendy Ide. Baffling, style over substance. But the fault for Ha Ji-won’s puerile teen-comedy grimacing surely has to rest with the director, Lee Myung-se.

  3. I disagree with Wendy Ides comment. Ha Ji Won played the part of Namsoon Superbly, you could feel the anger and insanity through her portrayal of the character. Perhaps a difference in culture and cinema might lead the reviewer to think that Ji Won did “horribly”?

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